Hidden Pictures

Jason Rekulak terrifies readers with his 2022 horror book Hidden Pictures. The story of a young woman (Mallory) fresh on her journey of addiction recovery when she becomes a full time nanny for a 5 year old boy (Teddy) in an affluent neighborhood. Things are looking up for Mallory until she starts to notice’s that Teddy’s drawings and behavior are beginning to become more sinister and terrifying by the day. With the fear that something supernatural may be influencing the young boy, Mallory turns to her new neighbor and landscaper to discover what is really happening in Teddy’s drawings.

While reading the book’s summary, I was very interested in seeing how it would turn out. After reading, I found it more and more difficult to sympathize with the characters or their choices. The main character Mallory as well as the two parents; Ted and Caroline; were almost caricatures in their behaviors (especially in the creation of their house rules for Mallory). Rekulak’s depictions of these three characters created a dichotomy between the hyper religious Mallory and the overly strict atheist parents.

Overall, Hidden Pictures was unremarkably similar to almost every “creepy kid” horror book or movie. I wish Hidden Pictures had a little extra to set it apart from other books in the horror/thriller genre.

What did you think of Hidden Pictures? What did you think about the twist ending? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Legends of the North Cascades

After becoming widowed veteran (Dave) and his 7 year old daughter (Bella) abandon their former life in Jonathan Evison’s 2021 novel Legends of the North Cascades. After bushwhacking though the North Cascades, the duo attempts to settle down in a mountain side cave. Eventually both succumb to the isolation of the mountain and begin to lose their grasp of reality and must decide to either remain in the cave or return to their former lives and family.

The local legend of “Cave Dave,” added an interesting dynamic to the plot . Seeing the local perspective of Dave and Bella’s mental and physical decline allowed the reader to better grasp the dangerous situation the main characters found themselves in. However, the story in its entirety was a little ridiculous. Many of the characters were unbelievable and unsympathetic. In addition, the ice age visions that Bella has throughout the story were bizarre and added nothing to the plot of the book. In my opinion, the novel would have been a more cohesive read if it was scrapped all together.

The importance of a supportive community is the most impactful theme of Evison’s novel. At first, I found the parallel stories of Dave with Bella and the Ice Age Mother and Son to be a little odd but by the end of the story the message was clear; with out community we will lose our sense of humanity.